Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ranting and Raving

Alright, I’m going to get up on my soapbox for a moment.

Please forgive me, but I can not hold this in any longer!!!

Yesterday, at a luncheon, I was sitting behind a coworker. This particular woman is a high-ranking official in the City and by all accounts, well-educated.

She seems to be a bit of a fitness nut, and partakes in the lunchtime yoga and pilates that are offered for employees of the City. I also happen to know that she is a vegetarian, though I’ve never had a conversation with her about it. It also should be known that she drinks decaf coffee. (I don’t know why it should be known – I’m just trying to give you all of the background that I have.)

I do know that she is a “horse person” (forgive me if you are one – I generally try not to stereotype), so I am unable to discern if her vegetarian tendencies are for “nutritional reasons” or because she thinks that animals deserve the same rights as humans.

So, back to the lunch…

My back is to her so I can not see what is in front of her, but I can hear her.

The waiter brings out the salads, they are of the Ceaser variety and the dressing is already on them. She tells the waiter that she does not want a salad unless he can bring it without the dressing. I figure it is because there are often anchovies in Ceaser dressing and she doesn’t eat those.

(To be fair, I also did not eat the salad because I figured that the dressing contained gluten and there were also croutons on it.)

Then, they start bringing out the meals. She has ordered the vegetarian option which includes grilled vegetables and a small dish of pasta with some kind of cream sauce on top.

(I won’t get into how angry I am that the gluten-free option was again a fruit plate. Though I was prepared this time and brought back-up snacks to the office in case of emergency.)

So, everyone eats their meals while the Mayor is giving the wonderful speech that I wrote for him… sorry I got distracted for a moment. J

The waiter comes to begin clearing the plates and I overhear the following conversation:

Waiter: Would you like me to bring you the fruit plate instead?
Vegetarian: No, it is just that this was made with eggs and I don’t eat eggs. When you get a chance could you please bring me another Diet Coke?

HOLD. The. Freaking. Phone!

Let me get this straight: You won’t eat the pasta because the sauce was made with eggs, and God forbid you eat an egg. BUT, you’ll go ahead and drink another Diet Coke. Do you know what is in Diet Coke?

Which brings me to my point – I know, it took me a while to get here, but I know you all are trying to waste time by reading my blog so I didn’t want the fun to end too soon.

We, as Americans (and perhaps as Canadians, Russians, or whoever else is reading this blog from parts unknown), have become so inundated with information – nutritional and otherwise – that we can not even make logical choices.

We don’t eat eggs because the yolks have too much cholesterol, but we will drink 44 ounces of soda – diet or regular – a day. Do you know how much sugar is in a 44 ounce soda? How about how much aspartame in a diet soda?

Lord help me, I sound like my mother…

But I am serious.

I am not saying that everyone should eat Paleo (although I would enjoy it because I wouldn’t have to modify every dish at a restaurant and you would all feel as great as I do), but I am saying that we need to stop for a minute and understand what we are eating.

And understand that the information that is being fed to us by the media and others may not always be the exact truth.

If there is one thing I learned in college (don’t worry Match and Papa, I learned more than one thing…), it was in my statistics class and it was this: Researchers can make the data say anything they want. Someone pays for those studies to be done and they are certainly not going to be releasing information that is detrimental to their product/profit.

So don’t take this as my edict to swear off all soda and aspartame. I honestly don’t even have an opinion on high fructose corn syrup – not because I think it is good or bad, but because I haven’t learned enough either way to say for sure.

Let’s just agree to be smart in our decision making – if everything you are eating has HFCS in it – I can guarantee you, you are going to see some negative effects of that.

Just like if you ate a dozen eggs a day your cholesterol would probably raise.

So go ahead and have your treats, but pay attention to how much of it you are having. And what you are giving up that might actually be good for you.